This one’s got a bit of nostalgia in it, but it all comes together in the end…
In 2008, I wrote a brief blog post about a change in personal technology that I had noticed over the previous 10 years. At that time, that blog was branded differently and was using a different web site address. Even now when I went to revisit that post, I noticed that now there is a contextually relevant Google Ad for a Professional Master’s Program at the University of Washington. My guess is that if we had other advertising here on this blog that this post would now get similar treatment.
You may be asking how this yields these “wonderful blessings.” I’ll get to that. For now a few more examples.
This morning as I was thinking about what I was going to write, I thought about how I used to do that same thinking at coffee shops in college and around town. So, I thought it might be conducive for writing for me to revisit a coffee shop I had not been to in a while. Here I sit, by the University of Washington at the University Village Starbucks. (Well, there may be more than one now. I’m not sure.) Goodness, was I in for a healthy dose of change when I walked in! This store is likely still one of the busiest Starbucks locations in the world and I’m not surprised that they have changed the layout. I was surprised by looking around and seeing at least 80% of the 68 people using laptops or iPads. (Yes, I counted. Hey, numbers are fun for some geeks!) I’m just assuming cell phones are more than 100% because I’m sure a few of these people have more than one cell phone. Also, Internet is free here. Also, the baristas are wearing wireless headsets to relay the order information (inside the store — not in a drive-through). Also, there are several tables with power outlets easily accessible. Etc.
As I sit, I’m typing on a Mac that’s running Windows. I’m even one of those guys that has those crazy stickers on his laptop. I never thought I’d be that way. Times change. Technology changes. People change.
Okay, that’s change, but what about blessings?
Well, I’m going to list 3 things here that I consider huge blessings, blessings that did not exist the same way prior to some of these changes.
1- Many, if not most of us can work remotely and can telecommute. This is a *huge* advantage to be able to work where and when there is inspiration, or maybe where the kids are and a diaper change is needed, or maybe at a cabin or coffee shop or friend’s house or office. Yesterday I learned that when I ordered a part for my motorcycle and went to a local shop here in Washington state to pick it up, the person who answered the phone telecommutes from California. She had great service and I never would have known except that it somehow came up in conversation with the in person associate at the store.
2- We can better serve the people and teams that we work with. This may sound like a contradiction to people that may tend to dwell on the increased number of distractions that we have now and the less quality time that some may feel like they are missing with so much more attention grabbing stuff around us. I can agree up to a point, which comes up very quickly. It is our responsibility to manage distractions. Here’s the flip side, the blessing… Because we need to contribute to our teams, we can work in our preferred setting so, so, so much easier now than we ever could before. This lets us be more mentally available and intellectually available to serve and contribute better.
3- We can find value in more places and we can add value in more places. There are many more people here at the coffee shop than in my office or home. This may sound silly, but I think it’s true. I like to smile and encourage people. On days like today, there are so many people that I think are happier because we can increase our social experiences due to many changes. And, we can work in a way that enriches us and brings about better results.
Think about the environments that you want to be in and how you think you may work best. Are you positioning yourself in those situations? Are you removing distractions? I have a co-worker who often works at our office rather than working from home, many times because there are many fewer distractions at the office than when working at home. I am very much the opposite. I frequently work at home because I feel like there are fewer distractions there.
How are you or your sales team or business associates able to collaborate on information? Are they tolerating the systems that they use or are they bragging about them to other co-workers and friends? (Not that we have to have the most awesome systems, but having good systems helps us “want” in addition to “need” to use them.)
As a business leader, manager or owner, are you able to inspire or encourage better teamwork with the technology changes around you? Does your team feel the same way? Have you asked them?
Now for the sales pitch that wraps this all together.
I’ve spent almost 10 years working with SharePoint. It is not always the best platform and not always the tool of choice, even though I believe it is the best group collaboration and productivity platform of all time. At J Street, we have worked on many systems, both internally and for numerous clients. As consultants and developers and project managers and as a team, we think about a lot of the things I’ve mentioned here when we work to find the real requirements for a project. We strive to interpret pain points and translate them into real needs.
When you or your organization are going through changes, consider the blessings and the rewards as well as the need for adjustment. Change is not easy on its own. It takes patience and perseverance. However, if the process is worked through well and the appropriate respect is given to the stakeholders, the end state is such a blessing.